A bill to legalize marijuana in New York has been passed by the lawmakers.
The NY governor, Andrew Cuomo has agreed that he would sign it into law.
This implies that NY will join 14 other US states and the District of Columbia in permitting marijuana use after the bill was backed by both state chambers, where Andrew’s Democratic Party holds strong majorities.
“For too long the prohibition of cannabis disproportionately targeted communities of color with harsh prison sentences,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“This landmark legislation provides justice for long-marginalized communities, embraces a new industry that will grow the economy, and establishes substantial safety guards for the public.”
Governor Andrew’s office has estimatefthe change could bring an additional $350 million in annual tax revenues and create tens of thousands of jobs in the state.
The state plans to tax marijuana sales at nine per cent, with revenues from an additional four-per cent tax divided between local and county government.
The law will allow adults 21 and over to purchase cannabis and grow plants for personal consumption at home, with a plan to divert some funds to drug treatment and education.
NY would automatically clear records of people with past convictions of marijuana-related crimes that would no longer be criminalized and also remove penalties for possession of up to 85 grams of the drug.